In 2011, the long-term care industry paid $6.6 billion in claim benefits to more than 200,000 individuals, according to the “2012 Long Term Care Insurance Sourcebook.”

Yet long-term care insurance decisions are not being made only by the elderly, according to a new report. A study conducted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance notes that the youngest claimant was 24 years old when he began receiving benefit payments from his long-term care insurance policy. Now in his seventh year of receiving payments, the coverage was purchased when the claimant was 21 years old.

In its review of data shared by leading long term care insurance companies, the AALTCI’s study results address what appears to be a misperception that long-term care insurance is purchased by and benefits aging individuals who need care as a result of conditions and symptoms associated with getting older. According to the study, the youngest female policyholder on claim obtained coverage at age 28. “Within the same year, she needed care and qualified for benefit payments that have amounted to over $135,000,” said Jesse Slome, AALTCI’s director.

After purchasing insurance coverage, added Slome, younger individuals have accidents and are diagnosed with health conditions that result in the need for care for months and often years.

According to the study, a number of insurers reported younger claimants in their 30s. “A male who purchased insurance at age 36 began receiving policy benefits at age 40,” Slome notes. “His claim has lasted over six and a half years and the insurer has already paid out over $700,000.”

Tim Kneeland, president, Transamerica Life Insurance, a company that offers long-term care coverages, affirms that the number of younger individuals purchasing long-term care insurance on an individual basis and through their employer is growing.

A policy that provides for $164,000 in immediate benefits with the option to increase overage in future years costs roughly $635 yearly for a 25 year old according to the Association’s 2012 Price Index.

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